There is no easy way to find a good digital marketing agency nowadays and it takes some due diligence to find a good one. A lot of quantitative rather than qualitative. You need to find an agency that can co-op with your company culture that knowing your business with an affordable and relevant budget. Even you know a lot of them that can help you out in the market but you need to beware some red flags before signing the contract with them. It doesn’t matter either is it large or small agency as long the requirement met.
One of the biggest red flags we can find is poor communication. If the agency failed to establish good communication with the client, it can be a hellish experience for both parties because of the lack of sensibility and predictability. It can cause unhealthy communication which can lead to a sense of fear that causes stress, which is counterproductive to efficiency. You must avoid at any cost if counter this! Doesn’t care and worry too much about their language fluency as long there is communication both parties. If you feel not understand and doubtful, ask them to clarify.
Slow response time
As a consequence of poor communication, you may be experiencing slow response time from the agency. It happened most of the time. When the people in the agency not being on the same page, it shows they weak in project management. There must be one person in charge that has good communication skills so they can represent their organization in a better way without delayed some progress in the middle of the project. The project manager that failure to follow through could signal a lack of leadership in their organization. Make sure to find agencies that have a good representative or project manager that can present their ideas and processes clearly.
They promise specific results
If there any agencies promise specific results, they only just want to close the deal with you. There are no guarantee positive results in digital marketing, a lot of experimenting campaigns, testing and finding what works best for each client at least 3-6 months to see the significant result. Difference business, different approach. No shortcut. No secret sauce. It’s all about perseverance until you got the best one. If an agency is promising you the world, kindly decline.
They don’t use their own product or solution
Why hire an agency for inbound marketing when that agency doesn’t seem to have their own inbound marketing. If that agency cannot even be drawing their website traffic into quality leads such as content marketing (no active blog), social media marketing (lack user engagements), search engine optimization (no positioning in organic phrases) and branding (never heard before), then do you really think they are going to help you do so? Just take a look on their website and do some competitive analysis with other agencies. If the agency is selling services that it doesn’t do (well) for themselves, then move on.
Overselling, before knowing your business
Feel like the agency are pushing too hard without knowing your business? For example, you are in the recruitment business to evaluate potential tech candidates for tech companies. What actually your business does is provide an evaluation recruitment platform so employers can use your platform to evaluate and find the best one. The problem you may counter is drawing potential clients to register your platform. But the agency overpromises and overselling to you without knowing your business first and they never worked with a client in your industry before. If each one of them looks like it’s been stamped out of a mold, you can probably do better elsewhere.
No real results or strategy
Some agency has no real results or strategy. Poor execution and not result-oriented, they depend on vanity matrix could mislead the result. Every agency should break down the way they are charging you, and how many hours will be dedicated to your strategy. It should be evident that they are working hard to make your business succeed online. That being said, if an agency is not being extremely clear with the steps they plan on taking to promote your business online, then they are not the agency for you.
Bad online presence
Their website sucks or doesn’t work, they don’t have an active blog, poor web ranking in competitive analysis, nowhere to be found on Google, their social media presence is zero, all these signs are red flags. The way they promote themselves could signal bad online presence. If you are paying someone to do something, you sure hope they know how to do it. Experience is extremely important. If they haven’t figured out how to market themselves online, then how can they market your business successfully? Ask for past examples, and check their own online presence.
They have a questionable reputation (or no reputation)
Do some due diligence before hiring them. One of the simplest methods searches their name on Google search engine. If you got lucky, a few of untold story on the dark side appeared in search results. Read and/or listen to their reviews. Another number to watch out for is client retention. If the number has not increased, but actually decreased then this should serve as a big red flag for you. This means that their clients were not happy enough with their results or service, and their money was not benefiting their businesses.
You don’t like them (f*** them)
If you don’t like them because of too much noise created on social media especially on your newsfeed, don’t worry. It happened to most of us. You feel this guy, gal or agency too much talking rather than doing. I really feel for you. Too many I, me and myself. I found many so-called sifu or guru in digital marketing. Feeding nonstop some pieces of advice to the netizen, sell or give free e-book, promoting their workshop training and vlogging (talking to yourself). For me, it doesn’t matter in the name of branding but if too much overselling, overpromise, overreact or overconfident without a strong business background, it’s just hurt your business actually. My advice just back to real guys. Business is kinda like a marathon, not a sprint!